April 15, 2011

This Is How I Know... (Veronica)

I read a website called The Hairpin. I found it through someone's link on Facebook. The writing is clever, edge-y, hip (if I was 28). One woman wrote a blarticle about why she chose to become an abortion provider. Quite provocative! There are some insider jokes in the comments section ( or maybe you just have to live in NYC and be under 30....) Its mostly women, but guys visit this site and post as well. In fact, Jane Feltes, producer of This American Life on NPR posts regular videos on how to... apply eye makeup, curl your hair, decorate your nails, etc. So, its lively, funny, and entertaining.

There are also advice columns - Ask a Dude, Ask a Lady, and something like Ask a Lady about a Lady. I actually read these columns as, you know, at 47 I don't pretend to have it all figured out. Or do I? Not pretend to, just actually have some stuff figured out. Maybe I'm reading them now so I can snarf at the screen, roll my eyes and think about what I would say, if I was asked. If I wasn't old enough to be their mother. OMG. hahahah - freaky. I'm old enough to be at least their mom's younger sister. So, I'm lurking around some young, hipster website feeling superior because you know, some of their questions are STUPID. And I'm going to give you an example that will have you shaking your head...and if doesn't cause you to shake your head, then you should be reading that website and not this one.

Routinely, and I mean every time one of these advice columns goes up, someone asks about why her boyfriend won't perform (sex alert) cunnilingus on her. And she asks about whether or not she should get a Brazilian, or whatever, if its not enough to just tidy up "down there." Perhaps she is malformed in some way - she's too big, too small, what can she do? And, routinely, people (men and women) respond with: if he won't do it, dump him. That's right! Dump his sorry, selfish, rude ass. Just get rid of that guy! Get another one! Find one who will do IT. Doesn't matter what else is going on this relationship - if he's caring, honest, patient, funny, forthright, industrious...no, no. If he won't, then you won't, and he should just know to do it and there are no alternatives.  If the sex isn't good now, it won't be later and you'll be sorry to have wasted years on such a loser.

And this is how I know that I am older. I've thought about this advice column nonsense for the last few weeks. I was standing at the sink, doing the dishes (I've had a dishwasher for a total of 5 months in the last 24 years), and thinking about the latest advice column and the usual nonsense about sex and getting rid of the guy who wouldn't/couldn't engage in oral sex. I realized I was sad for that woman who wrote asking for advice, sad for the people who said to break up with him, and sad for the man who was about to get dumped despite "lots of other good qualities."  When I was 28, I was married with a 5 year old daughter and a husband who had just lost his job because of a recession. That's real life, friends. Imagine him and I at the dining room table, talking about what we'll do to meet the mortgage in 30 days, pay the day care and keep the heat on. Then, I say, "You know, there's something else I'd like to talk to you about. I'm tired of you not meeting all of my sexual needs. There's this one thing, that lasts about 5 or 10 minutes and it could happen once or twice a month, but it doesn't happen at all and its ruining my life."

Washing the dishes, thinking about what has transpired since I was 28. So many years, so many layers, so many grooves in my record. I don't begrudge anyone being twenty-something. But this shallow, self-centered, egotistical notion that the world revolves around sexual satisfaction of self above all else is disturbing. I think they should have an advice column over there called Ask A Mother. No one would read it, of course, or they'd read it, roll their eyes and then run their forefinger in circles near their temple because old people are crazy. Old people just don't get it, how difficult and confusing this world is and how uncertain the future is. Nope, we have no idea.

And this is how I know I'm old because I'm complaining about kids these days and how back in my day there was no Internet or email or texting or sexting.

And that's how I know how much I've grown. I realize how much less complicated some parts of my life have become. Other parts continue on in their shadowy, what-to-do fashion, and I've learned that ambiguity is my friend. There are still questions to be answered and unknowns to be solved. For example, what is a Brazilian, exactly?

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